A CORK poultry company has voiced concern about relentless phone calls from young people interested in buying ducklings.
Gerard O'Leary from O'Leary's Poultry in Macroom branded the latest craze, which sees Tik Tok users featuring ducklings in their videos, as "cruel."
He said the negative offshoots from the social media trend are obvious as numerous teens inquire about purchasing the birds.
Mr O'Leary said that one teenage girl in Cork city had been looking to buy five of the birds at once, despite lacking experience in caring for the animals. Calls have even come in as late as 11.30pm.
"There have been a huge amount of calls from young girls," Mr O'Leary said. "It's what they are planning to do afterward with the ducklings that worries me. They are either going to abandon them or leave them in a pond. Even a wild duck won't last long if it's left on its own because the duckling is either going to be taken by a predator or sink like a stone in water. One girl who contacted me told me that she'd take five."
Inquiries about pet ducklings have been coming from all over the country.
"I've had calls from as far as Limerick, Kildare and Dublin. One girl who was living outside the remit said she would pay extra for me to deliver."
The Cork man said he is refusing to sell any ducklings he suspects will be used for Tik Tok videos.
"People are ringing back a second time on private numbers to see if they can get them. I'm telling people that if they want to buy birds they need to have a flock number. If I have any doubts at all then I won't sell to them. There is no way I am going to give out a duckling for it to be mistreated. These birds are so defenseless and I'm against cruelty in any form."
He explained that ducklings need the right environment in order to thrive.
"These birds can live four to five years. They need water to swim in and to be cared for properly. No amount of money is going to change my mind about that."
Mr O'Leary's warning follow similar concerns from the DSPCA who advised against buying ducklings to showcase on TikTok The association said they received a high number of calls about children and teenagers buying ducklings from street sellers.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, Head of Education and Media at the DSPCA Gillian Bird said: “We suspect what’s happening is, it’s caught on now that people know people are going to buy ducklings. So if you go down to the canal, scoop up a few ducklings, they seem to be selling them for about five euro each… We have one lady who actually went and bought 10 of them off some kids who were selling them."